A Fresh And Daring Take On Ancient Apocalyptic Books The Year 167 B.C.E Marked The Beginning Of A Period Of Intense Persecution For The People Of Judea, As Seleucid Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes Attempted Forcibly And Brutally To Eradicate Traditional Jewish Religious Practices In Apocalypse Against Empire Anathea Portier Young Reconstructs The Historical Events And Key Players In This Traumatic Episode In Jewish History And Provides A Sophisticated Treatment Of Resistance In Early Judaism Building On A Solid Contextual Foundation, Portier Young Argues That The First Jewish Apocalypses Emerged As A Literature Of Resistance To Hellenistic Imperial Rule She Makes A Sturdy Case For This Argument By Examining Three Extant Apocalypses, Giving Careful Attention To The Interplay Between Social Theory, History, Textual Studies, And Theological Analysis In Particular, Portier Young Contends, The Book Of Daniel, The Apocalypse Of Weeks, And The Book Of Dreams Were Written To Supply An Oppressed People With A Potent Antidote To The Destructive Propaganda Of The Empire Renewing Their Faith In The God Of The Covenant And Answering State Terror With Radical Visions Of Hope. Apocalypse against Empire discusses Jewish resistance against Seleucid imperial rule at the beginning of the 2nd century BCE written down in three of the earliest Jewish apocalyptic documents the book Daniel of the Hebrew Bible, and two parts of the Jewish pseudepigraphical book 1 Enoch, the Apocalypse of Weeks and the Book of Dreams.The first part of this book theorizes on resistance, with a clear description of domination and hegemony the latter being the softer , less tangible component of imperial rule , and the introduction of the attractive state terror notion The author borrows the latter notion from modern political scholarship, and in the epilogue she mentions the methodological frailty of the application of this modern notion to events of Antiquity A shortcoming of this theoretical part is that the author doesn t answer the question what prompted the Jews to write their first apocalypses exactly while resisting Seleucid oppression In other words in what respect was Seleucid rule so different from earlier foreign rule that the Jews resorted exactly then to encrypti
This book has two halves The first half tries to explain why assuming that the account in the Book of Maccabees is factually correct Antiochus, the king of the Syria based Selucid Empire, oppressed the Jews, leading to the Maccabees revolt and of course the story of Chanukah arising from the revolt s success The second half addresses the books of Daniel and Enoch, two books which according to the authors may have been Jewish responses to Selucid oppression.To begin with, even before Antiochus ascended the throne, his empire was fiscally stressed because of a nasty habit of making war against the neighboring Egyptian empire So when various Jews sought to buy the Jewish high priesthood from the empire, Selucid officials were all ears The last of these crooked priests, Menelaus, was unable to pay the promised bribe So to make up the deficiency, Menelaus and his friends robbed the Temple, which in turn provoked rioting and eventually a rebellion by former high priest Jason, which Antiochus easily terminated.After ending the revolt, Antiochus begin his reign of terror According to the book of Maccabees, Antiochus began by randomly murdering and enslaving many of Jerusalem s inhabitants The authors suggest that Antiochus s goal in murdering Jews was to create a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness in Judea The
Some expertise in the dynamics of the subject its history, literature, and religion is a prerequisite to appreciating the treasures of Apocalypse Against Empire A landmark and necessary read of careful research that will alter the way you
An amazing and thought provoking look at the way apocalyptic literature helps communities resist oppressive empires Definitely worth your read if you have the time.
- 492 pages
- Apocalypse against Empire
- Anathea E. Portier-Young
- 14 January 2018 Anathea E. Portier-Young